On 21 July 2018, US President Donald Trump received the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, publicly confirming that he acknowledged Italy’s pre-eminence in Libya.

By doing so, the White House undermined France’s efforts to appropriate Libyan oil.

During the war that the Obama Administration brought into motion against Libya, Silvio Berlusconi (Italy’s Prime Minister at the time), was the only Western leader that tried to defend the Libyan Guide Muammar al-Gaddafi. However, the Italian Parliament and the French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, quickly brought him to heel.

Italy, once Libya’s colonial master, massacred the population of Tripoli in 1911 and hanged Omar al-Mokhtar, leading the Libyan resistance at the time. As Prime Minister of Italy, Berlusconi had negotiated reparations for these crimes with Gaddafi.

Today, Silvio Berlusconi is a member of the Italian coalition that was brought together with the help of Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former advisor. It was this coalition that brought Giuseppe Conte to power.

Anoosha Boralessa